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What is Truly Going on After the War in the North Sri Lanka?

by Shantha Wijesuriya, LankaENews, March 9, 2011 

After the end of the war ,about 50,000 members of the forces and the police are on duty in Jaffna. There are 15 Secretarial district divisions , 182,000 families comprising 675,000 members. Based on theses figures , for every 13 Jaffna residents there is a security personnel. Under this strict security blanket it is impossible to commit a murder let alone paste a poster. Moreover , in every village there are army and police intelligence officers in civil clothes mingling. Indeed, even where we stayed, Army intelligence unit officers have come to our Pillayan Hotel and searched for information about us and had gone.

(The translation from LeN Sinhala edition) Pictures at

-Nobody knows where 80000 disappeared; 27000 orphans; 1000 acres land from every secretarial district plundered-

The religious leaders and the intelligentsia of the North allege that the Govt. of Mahinda Rajapakse while proclaiming that it is introducing ‘summer to the north’ (uthure vasantha) , is only engaged in plundering the resources of the north . What now remains for us in the north is the pothole ridden A9 road and the gigantic advertisement hoardings of the Companies belonging to the Majority community, they lamented.

The Govt. under the pretext of development of the north is transporting the trees , earth and sand via the Army to the south . If anybody opposes this action of the Govt. , he is either murdered or is abducted by the white Van , they added.

These were among the many charges made and reported , when the South Asian free media campaign (SAFMA ), Tamil media Organization , Muslim media Organization , professional newspaper Artistes Association , Professional media service conference and united media groups visited the north .

The 30 year old armed struggle of the Tamils in the north was terminated by the Rajapakse Govt. on 18th May 2009 by defeating them at war. On 18th May 2011 , two years will be completed since the war was won. Hence there is only two months more for this. After the LTTE was defeated , under the Minister of economic affairs , Basil Rajapakse , the programs with high flying names ,‘uthuru vasanthe’ for the north and ‘Eastern dawn’ ( negenhira udanaya’) for the East were launched . 

This is what the religious leaders there had to say about these much hyped programs ….
The best illustration of the uthuru vasanthe’s achievement , is the A 9 road constructed under it. You can see for yourself the condition of that road. If you travel down that road by vehicle , the road is so rutty , the contents in your stomach will get thrown up to your mouth , they said. From the children of the Schools in the South promising to open the train service from Omantha to Jaffna , the Govt. collected funds. But up to now no one knows what happened to those funds. A professor of the University of the north revealing this added , after the war there is no opportunity for the media in the north to expose these truths and none is there to research and take these stories across to the outside ‘world’. He therefore urged the media of the south to undertake this task and communicate these handicaps and shortcomings to the world outside.

The Govt. invited local and foreign investors to commence businesses in the North and East . The govt. worked day and night to provide the necessary infra structure facilities like electricity , water and roadways towards this end. Ultimately ,the result was, the whole of north getting invaded by the Companies of the Majority race and Banks, along with their hoardings and advertisement campaigns. Anybody who travels down the A9 road can clearly see this invasion if he looks around. This is like the invasion of a new planet . Every 500 meter distance , an Army bunker also exists .

A former Municipal Commissioner of Jaffna ….
What the Govt. is doing while showing to the world that it is developing the north is nothing other than pillaging and plundering the resources of the north and transporting them to the South. Since the day the war ended , that is 18th May 2009 , we are subjected to this looting and plundering. The Banks of the South came here collected our people’s monies and went away . Today , Jaffna means a venue of trade for the South of SL and India. The Indians and Chinese are coming here and signing various contracts . Our people do not get a single sub contract . All the contracts are given to the Southerners. Those who are here get nothing ,have nothing. Before the war , it is we who supplied grapes to the whole country . But now grapes are being imported. Most of our lands where we grew grapes are now being held by the Forces as high security zones. They don’t allow us to grow anything . But chillies are being imported from India wasting foreign exchange. This is Mahinda Rajapakse’s uthure vasanthe made up of. The govt . is acquiring 1000 acres of land from every Secretarial District in the North. When we ask for our legitimate lands , the Army says , those lands were held by the LTTE , and therefore they have to have their camps there. They say the LTTE wronged , but the Forces are now holding them wrongfully .But the fact of the matter is , we are the true owners. Yet , we are on the road. The Govt . has plundered thousands of acres of our lands and giving them over to foreign Companies .

Although the people of the north were not happy with the manner in which the Govt. concluded the war , they however began reverting to their normal lives thereafter. Following the end of the war , the fear that was in the northern people began to ebb to some extent. The prohibition on fishing was withdrawn . But after the recent murders of Jaffna zonal Director of education and a Hindu priest by shooting ,and the discovery of a number of dead bodies from a well, the people of the north are in a state of shock and fear. After these incidents the old fear psychosis that existed before the war ended has returned to them.

NGO Council in Jaffna ……..
During the last few months , a Jaffna zonal Director was killed . Thereafter a priest was killed. Lately , a number of dead bodies were discovered from a well.

The Forces have again begun collecting information about the residents in Jaffna after the war. They are taking photographs. Following the murders , they are searching the people on the roads again. Specially in the villages , people cant travel about after 6.00 p m. They are being questioned and taken into custody. When looking back and analyzing the murders committed , it is becoming clear that it is to deprive the people of the north their democratic rights that these crimes are being committed deliberately . When the Tamil political parties of the north are selecting candidates for elections they are confronted with undue problems. Those in the higher rungs speak against this ,but the ordinary people are scared to utter a word. Our biggest worry is, why is this Govt. not paying attention to the grave issues and dire problems of the Tamil people of the north. The Tamil people who reposed great hopes in a life of a peace after the war are losing those hopes , as we understand . They are now living in mortal fear and uncertainty.

After the end of the war ,about 50,000 members of the forces and the police are on duty in Jaffna. There are 15 Secretarial district divisions , 182,000 families comprising 675,000 members. Based on theses figures , for every 13 Jaffna residents there is a security personnel . Under this strict security blanket it is impossible to commit a murder let alone paste a poster . Moreover , in every village there are army and police intelligence officers in civil clothes mingling. Indeed , even where we stayed , Army intelligence unit officers have come to our Pillayan Hotel and searched for information about us and had gone.

Views of a religious prelate…..
It was politics that was behind every murder and abduction committed during the recent past. Those who carry arms in Jaffna are only the Forces and Minister Douglas Devananda’s groups. Nothing can be done in Jaffna without their knowledge . To that extent they are mingled with the people . There is no difference between the Forces and Devananda’s group. Their conduct is uncouth and callous. All those who fell victims to murders and abductions are those who were hostile to the Govt., Forces and Devananda’s groups. 

During the final stage of the war in the engagement between the Forces and the LTTE at Wellamulla Waikal district , due to the attacks launched by the Forces , a large number of civilians got killed. After the war , another large group was sent to refugee camps , and later they were re settled in their villages and homes. Another large number of people of the north are still in refugee camps. In Jaffna alone there are 65 refugee camps. Over 15000 youths supposedly LTTE suspects are still held in custody by the Forces . Neither the media nor outsiders can meet them.

Jaffna NGO Council ……
There are reports that during the war , there were 320,000 Tamil residents under the LTTE administration. LTTE cadres do not belong to them. Of this 320,000 , 270, 000 have been registered. One lakh is in the Manik farms , 80,000 in Mulaitivu , 30,000 are re settled in other places , while 30 ,000 have fled the country or living in other areas of the country. What happened to 80,000 Tamil people is not yet known There are 27000 orphans in Menikdiwela who haven’t both parents. There are 42000 suffering from depression during the final phase of the war . Of them 36000 are youths. There are 36000 widows from the final phase of the war. 10,000 of them believe their husbands are still held in army camps.

When the Govt. forces captured the east from the LTTE , the NGOs were able to help the refugees without let or hindrance . But in the north the NGOs faced a lot of hindrances. The Govt. looks upon the NGOs with suspicion.

If we are to work in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu , we have to get permission of the defense Ministry and the President task force. The NGOs have to discard their plans and perform their activities according to Govt. ‘s requirements.

Originally , the NGOs came forward to construct houses for the displaced people. But when the Govt. and India intervened and said they will build the houses , we withdrew. Though India told that it would build 50 ,000 houses for the displaced , so far not even the foundation stone has been laid. The Govt . has resettled these displaced people in wattle and daub huts . Because these tiny huts are built in close vicinity to the Army camps , the women folks in them specially are subject to immense hardships and embarrassment. India gifted 450 tractors for the northern people , but only 65 of them have been allocated to the north.

The Govt. has permitted the NGOs in the North to provide only drinking water and supplies for livelihood .

Youths who are suffering from depression must be cured promptly . Last year in Universities and villages suicides have increased substantially. Children who have lost their parents , even though they are given refuge in religious places , those are not proper solutions.

Although the war is over, in Thelpullai and Maradankeli districts the Govt . is maintaining high security zones.

Specially in Maradankeli high security zone, a number of Schools are there . But because these Schools are closed now , the education of the children in those districts are at a standstill.

The Mahinda Rajapakse Govt. promised during the period of the war to formulate a solution for the Tamil people’s national issue going even beyond the 13th amendment to the constitution . As the LTTE is defeated , there is no war now. When the President is asked about the solution to the Tamil people’s issue , he had stated that he is not prepared to concede what Prabhakaran demanded. India which promoted the 13th amendment as a solution to the Tamil people’s issue is also now silent. After the LTTE Organization was defeated in the war , specially in the north there is a strong hostile climate against India. When the England vs India cricket match played recently was shown on the Television , we saw the Jaffna youths and the elderly crowd cursing India and supporting the England team. India is blameworthy for the present dismal state of the Tamil people , they elaborated.

Religious leaders discussing with us had this to say ….
After the war , our people nursed high hopes to live as Sri Lankan people. Even after one and half years is over, there are not even signs of a political solution. If the people of the north had been provided with electricity , water and roads , the people of the south are questioning what more need be fulfilled for them. Those who ruled this country since 1948 did not give thought to the Tamil people’s agendas and requirements. They failed to understand this. They did not create room for the people of the south to understand this either. As a consequence of this , the country was pushed into a 30 year cruel war. The Tamil people did not desire the war . They had no other option. After destroying the Tamil people’s struggle by bloodshed and weapons , the Govt. is once again talking of one nation and one country . There are two races , Tamils and Sinhalese in this country . That is the absolute truth. We also like to live within an united Sri Lanka .

Though Rajapakses scream that there is only race , that is not the stark reality .If this is not clearly understood , the people can once again be pushed to division and disaster. Instead of finding a political solution via the intervention of India , if we can create a harmonious relation with the SL Govt. that is more worth .

The refugees owing to the war are not Tamils alone , there are also Sinhalese and Muslims of the north. Like how the Tamils faced threats from the Forces , the Sinhalese and Muslims faced threats from the LTTE. A section of the Sinhalese and Muslims who received threats from the LTTE helped the Govt. Forces to defeat the LTTE . Yet their position after the war is no better than the Tamil refugees.

Kilinochchi Muslim Association Secretary , Rahman ….
Muslims who were residing in Kilinochchi and Mulaitivu were evicted by the LTTE in 1990. The LTTE gave us only two hours to quit with our goods and possessions. After the rivirasa operations in 1997 , some of those who fled came back to Jaffna. When we returned to Jaffna , where our houses stood and the schools where our children went were all used by the Army and bunkers have been constructed .. From 1997 to 2002 , this region was demarcated as high security zone.

Now over one and half years have elapsed since the war ended. Yet , not a single political leader took any action to resettle the Muslims. Even a Muslim leader does not come forward to speak on our behalf. The Govt. also does not acknowledge that we are displaced people. During the LTTE administration our houses were in proper condition. But after the administration changed over to the Security forces , the roofs , tiles etc. of our houses and schools had been removed and used to construct the Army camps. Social services Minister Milroy Fernando and Minister of resettlement Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan promised that when they receive aid from the Arab countries our houses will be built and given.

The main source of livelihood of the Jaffna people are agriculture and fishing. Because army camps and high security zones are established on their agricultural lands , they have been deprived of their agriculture lands.

During the war the fishermen were forbidden to go to the sea for fishing. But now they are faced with other complicated problems .

A leader of the fishing community, Gurunagar ….
Indian fishermen are poaching on our territorial waters and trawling. Because of their trawling our equipments are getting damaged . Our nets are being cut by them . Consequently our fishermen are driven to dire straits. We have to work according to Navy ‘s instructions. The Navy told us that if we do not apprehend these Indian fishermen we wont be allowed to go out to the sea. Later we went along with Naval officers who came in civil attire and under disguise to sea. We then caught the Indian fishermen. We do not now have the prohibition imposed on us during the war. The Naval Force gives us a permit to go to sea., The fishermen must record on the Navy register how many fishermen are going to the sea.

Kangeshan (38) , a farmer from Jaffna…
I am growing on this land taken on lease . I am paying annually Rs. 2000/- as rent . I have planted ladies fingers apart from cabbage and carrots . Cabbage and carrots grow well. I am paying Rs. 300/- per day for a laborer . He works from morning 8.00 till 5.00 p m. After having spent on manure , workers wages , there is a profit of Rs. 20,000/- to 30,000/- on an acre . This profit is every 8 months. We receive no assistance at all from the Govt. When we take our vegetables to the Chinnaveli trade Fair (pola) . Traders who come there , buy and go. In 1990 when the LTTE captured the area we went to Thenmarachchi , and returned in 1995. I have three children. All expenses are met via this income. Of course after the war the situation has improved. We have to register in Kopay division . We have been told to register again. We adhere to what we are instructed. We do not care about what is good or bad.

Following the recent murders and abductions , Jaffna is gripped by a fear psychosis . Jaffna society is again shuddering. They are living in suspicion and fear not knowing whom to trust.

A Professor of the Jaffna University ……
There can be informants among you all. When we speak we do not know what would be our fate tomorrow. If we are here , you all can visit and meet us. Recently . a group broke the doors and windows of my house and entered . You all will speak and go away , but we have to live here . If you are publishing our stories , do not put our names. I beg you not to publish our photos.

Due to these earnest requests we are compelled not to publish names and photographs of many whom we met.


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